I first became a CEO at 18 years old. I worked at a clothing brand called SFACTORY, which was started by my cousin. While it was challenging, I viewed it as a great opportunity for my younger self and was able to prove myself and show my family I could do anything I set my mind to. Being a female CEO isn’t easy, and I think it takes someone who is tenacious, strong-willed, and forward-thinking.
Currently, I serve as the CEO for daisies, a platform made by women, for women; focused on providing accessible healthcare to women. Originally, I joined the team first as an advisor and investor, and I was made CEO in July 2022. This journey started because one of the founders approached me at a conference where I was speaking about entrepreneurship. From there, it was an instant connection and the rest is history.
Finding a Problem and Making a Change
Nearly all the executives for daisies have a health problem or medical situation. While this is unfortunate, it makes our mission personal and drives us to achieve something big in the health industry. We want Latinas to look at their health and be able to say, “I want to prevent, not to correct. I want affordable and high-quality healthcare, that is in my language, Spanish.” At daisies, we are clear on our mission, to find women who are willing to put themselves first and stop giving others their health control.
Personally, I have a heart condition that dictates my food and sleep control, a condition that was easily preventable. This is something that nobody thinks will happen to them, until it does. Empowered women feel invincible, until we are not. We are young and strong, so developing a rare heart condition is something we think we will only see in the movies. Until it becomes a real thing, like how it happened to me. I can be the best CEO for my company, speak at conferences, and mentor those around me, but now I must take medicine in order to do any of this.
My personal mission is to prevent other women from making the same mistake I did. I don’t want to see other Latinas putting their health at risk, especially when it is something that is preventable. For women to truly understand the power of medical prevention, it is critical to make women understand we ALL need to take preventive measures for our health. We are not superhumans; we are superwomen. And even a superwoman needs assistance every now and again.
The Challenges and Advice of an Empowered Latina
Being a CEO for a tech company in the health space means every day is different, every day is a journey, and every day we are researching and learning something new. My career has allowed me to be who I want to be, provided me the opportunity to nurture my creativity and vision for the world. Being in a position where my career is focused on helping others and changing lives is transcending. Coming from an aggressive and violent home, I can truly say I saved my own life – now my team and I are saving other women, showing them how to prioritize themselves.
Creating something new is a daily challenge. Creating a new mindset is even harder. As a Latina, I can attest that we don’t have a prevention mindset. My goal is to change that and encourage women to be as powerful as they can, including health power.
Following your dreams and finding a career you are passionate about is not impossible and is something everyone should strive for. You need to consider the things that inspire you, challenge you and consider the things you are passionate about. But most importantly give yourself the permission to make mistakes, and learn from them in order to grow.
Using Technology as a Tool for Change
Working at a tech startup, we heavily rely on technology for nearly every aspect of our organization. Given our business is for an app, technology is at the center of it all. I am constantly learning and pushing myself to understand the ins and outs of different devices, software and platforms.
It is important for not only me, but my team, that the tech we use is reliable and user-friendly, which is something Lenovo does well. Our team is made up of more than 40 individuals, all with different roles and needs for technology. I am not an expert in tech, and I have so much to learn, but with the help of Lenovo we are able to push our business forward and continue working towards accessible and quality healthcare for all women.
If you’re interested in my work and want to keep up with my #LenovoInnovators journey, follow along on Instagram @karlahuertav.